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In high spirits: shaken, stirred, or on the rocks? These professionals give you a reason to toast.

Whether as part of a celebration, social gathering, or a quiet moment at home alcohol consumption in 2003 reached $145.4 billion, according to the Adams Beverage Group, which publishes the annual Adams Handbook Advance--a compendium of statistics on spirits, wine, and beer

It's a market being driven by new blends high-end products and imports, confirms Tiziana Mohorovic, director of information services for Adams. Sales in spirits rose in every category Beer dipped slightly, but lights, imports, and domestic superpremiums saw increases. In fact, consumers spent $8 billion mere in 2003 than they did the previous year. with imported products outperforming domestic brands in all three segments

Author Edward Burke once said, "One can drink tee much, but end never drinks enough." Consumers seem to be lifting their glasses to that sentiment. And so, too, do the following five Professionals who work hard at bringing the very best in the wine, spirits, and brews to market.


Head Sommelier | Per Se Restaurant

New York

Andre Hack, 32, has earned his stripes. In 2003, he won the Chaine des Rotisseurs Best Young Sommelier in America competition. He was also awarded the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers' certificate.

Formerly the sommelier at the famed restaurant French Laundry in California's Napa Valley, Hack now advises clients about wine and food at Per Se, Manhattan's newest interpreter of French cuisine.

"I worked as a waiter to support my way through college. At my tables, I realized the more I knew about wine, the more wine the guest would order. I began to read everything I could on the subject: So, what started as a sales instrument became an obsession."

A typical day for Hack is divided into two parts. "Office time, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., is spent ordering, purchasing, receiving, and recording wine shipments.

"Service time, 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., is spent interacting with guests on the dining room floor, selecting and serving wine based on the guest's chosen menu, and directing wine service among the staff throughout the restaurant."

Mack's biggest challenges are keeping the wine list current with its rapidly changing inventory. "The really big one," he says, "is trying to overcome a guest's belief that they must drink only a certain type of wine."


Wine & Spirits Importer & Distributor | 57 Main Street Wine

Garden City, NY

Peter Morales, 44, is president and founder of 57 Main Street Wine Co.--a joint venture between Peter Andrew, L.L.C. and KWV International. Located in Garden City, New York, the company's portfolio includes KWV wines and spirits, Cathedral Cellars, Imoya Brandy, Robert's Rock, and estate wines from South Africa's Cape region. Prior to founding his company in 1998, Morales worked for 18 years in sales and marketing for various corporate companies, where his focus was consumer product management. In 1989, a professional recruiter introduced him to the hospitality industry, where he first worked for Grand Metropolitan PLC of UK and then a U.S. wholesaler.

Today he imports wine and spirits from South Africa, Argentina, Italy, and Spain, with much of his time spent assisting his team of nine U.S. sales reps as they develop their regional businesses. "Additionally, I interface with my foreign suppliers to discuss their objectives in the USA," he says. Morales spends roughly five months out of the year developing business in foreign countries. Since Americans are more familiar with South Africa's gold, diamond, and platinum products, Morales says he particularly enjoys educating U.S. consumers on the country's premium wine and brandy.


Master Blender | Appleton Rum

St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

In 1997, Joy Spence became the first female master blender in the spirits industry. She was introduced to the art at Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum in the Nassau Valley by her predecessor Owen Tulloch. "Mr. Tulloch recognized that I had an excellent nose for the business--a special and rare talent--so I studied under him for 17 years."

Primary responsibilities include approving blends for daily bottling, monitoring stocks of aged rum to ensure consistency, and hand-blending various marques of rums. Spence is also involved in strategic planning for new product development. "It [has] allowed me to express my creativity in an unusual manner; in addition, it created a diversion from the mundane laboratory work," says Spence, 54, who joined Appleton in 1981 as a chief chemist.

Since then, she has worked for the company as product development manager, technical services manager, and total quality manager.

"My greatest challenges are managing the stocks of aged rums in order to meet consumer demand and developing new and unique blends in the premium aged rum category."


Plant Manager | Hiller Brewing

Eden, North Carolina

Patricia Pinnix Henry has two career milestones to savor. She was the nation's first black female brew master. In addition, she is the first black, female plant manager for a major brewery in the United States. At 57, she is celebrating her 10th year in the position at Miller Brewing Co.'s Eden, North Carolina, brewery, which generates $650 million in annual revenues.

Henry's chemical degree helped her secure a position as brewery supervisor when she was 30, "It provided me an opportunity to learn about the art and science of brewing," she says. "I moved through the organization, working in many departments until my present position." Before becoming brewery plant manager, Henry was brew master for five years.

Since she's responsible for the entire facility's operation, Henry's duties, besides leading a staff of 700 employees, include developing strategy around asset care management, performance management, organizational development people development, and budget performance. "I continually assess where we are versus where we need to be, and I try to motivate and communicate our vision to 700 people."


Brandy Master | Imoya

Paarl, South Africa

Created by Elroy Goliath, Imoya was judged best brandy in the world at the 2000 International Wine and Spirits competition in London. Goliath, 32, is presently manager of operations for the brandy and spirits division of KWV International in Paarl, his hometown in the heart of South Africa's wine country.

After graduating in 1993, Goliath joined KWV International as an engineer-in-training with a focus on spirits: "I have remained with the company throughout my graduate studies, culminating with my Ph.D. in 2002," says Goliath. Since then, he has been responsible for all technical aspects of brandy production. Goliath also manages 270 employees.

"My challenges range across various issues: Ensuring that KWV's production methods and facilities are on par with the best in the world; not only being a technical, production person but having a complete understanding of the business; understanding the needs of our employees and continuously looking for means to improve the quality of life for those who did not have the opportunities before."
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Title Annotation:career profile
Author:Dumas, Joseph
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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